Year: 2006
Production Co: ThinkFilm
Studio: Film Finance Corporation
Director: Neil Armfield
Producer: Margaret Fink
Writer: Luke Davies/Neil Armfield
Cast: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Noni Hazelhurst, Tom Budge, Damon Herriman, Tony Martin
Any time a small local movie comes out with massive hype thanks to a famous cast, it's a good idea to imagine it starring complete unknowns. That'll answer the question; is it a good movie, or just a good cast?

Name actors come with baggage, whether it's overt (throwing their weight around to get the script changed to make their character look better) or completely unwitting, simply because we've seen them in other memorable roles and it's hard to forget them. But while none of us should expect actors to decide which movies to do for any reason other than their own satisfaction, some actors come off looking a bit too 'actorly'. They don't take on roles to entertain, they take on roles purely to prove to everyone (including themselves) how good they are.

Since Ledger's meltdown, where he made an enemy of the paparazzi, took his breakfast with him onto morning TV, moved to America and claimed he'd sabotaged his career after appearing in a bunch of duds, he's come back one of the most acclaimed thesps in the world. But when you look at both this film and Brokeback Mountain (the two films that cemented his new reputation), neither of them have been particularly spectacular stories, and hence I don't think they've been very good movies. What they've had is a sense that the whole film is about the performances (I also seemed to disagree with the rest of the world in thinking he was terrible in Brokeback), and I get the feeling that's just the way serious actory types like Ledger and co-star Abbie Cornish like it.

Adapted from Luke Davies thoroughly uninteresting novel about two drug addicts trying to lead a normal life, it's given a bit more to relate to on screen with real people after Davies' dry, dull prose.

You certainly do get a sense of the tragedy of two people who love each other trying to stay sane and together in the face of a taste for heroin that consumes everything.

The lengths they go to for money and drugs range from the slightly comic (Dan's audacity at stealing a wallet and then extracting all the money from the accounts owned by the victim) to the cringe-worthy (having a real estate agent let himself in to their crummy flat to evict them, locking themselves in their flat to detox over three agonising days), but like a lot of artistic movies there's no real ending or resolution. It apparently involves Dan - now clean, working as a dishwasher and breaking up with her.

The cast and their abilities were the only reason to bring the story to the screen, so for students of the acting craft it's more essential than it is to people who just want to see a good story well told.

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